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How do you answer this question from a viewer?

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There was a lot of good stuff in this interview [with the missionaries], and I found it instructive. You did a good job digging into their foundations and keeping the discussion focused. At the end he said "I know that God will tell people the Book of Mormon is true". That would have also been instructing to explore. What would prove that wrong? What would it take to convince them that someone prayed and didn't receive an answer from God that the Book of Mormon was true.

Street Epistemology: Elder Macedone | I know the Book of Mormon is true

 

Edited by cdowis

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Be patient ==>>

Hint #1 It's not "just a feeling"

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There was a lot of good stuff in this interview [with the missionaries], and I found it instructive. You did a good job digging into their foundations and keeping the discussion focused. At the end he said "I know that God will tell people the Book of Mormon is true".

A lot of unspoken assumptions in that statement.  Moroni's Promise is not constructed that way.  Volition is needed.  A seed of faith.  Actually reading the book.  Pondering over it.  Some measure of sincerity and desire and humility.  Patience.  And so on.

A person who does not do these things will likely not get an answer that "the Book of Mormon is true."  If the individual is not willing, or not prepared, or not sufficiently informed, then an answer may well not be forthcoming.  There can be other impediments too, I think.

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That would have also been instructing to explore. What would prove that wrong? What would it take to convince them that someone prayed and didn't receive an answer from God that the Book of Mormon was true.

All sorts of thing could prove "I know that God will tell people the Book of Mormon is true" to be wrong, depending on the context, on the individual's circumstances and effort and desire.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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19 minutes ago, cdowis said:

How do you answer this question from a viewer?

Who watches this stuff? I couldn't take 5 seconds of it, and I have a fairly good attention span.If it works in some missions and demographics, great; I'd be interested in seeing that data.

The only tool that people that have prayed and not received a witness, to convince those who have received one that they are wrong, would be any Achilles heel in their erstwhile faithful victim. Find and exploit that, and they might have some success. The problem is, a battle of intent usually doesn't go anywhere, as evidenced in many a debate on this board. Missionaries are successful because they are on the same wavelength, intent-wise, as those who end up believing them. Critics fail when they cannot relate on the right level as the faithful. So the destroyer of faith has to be more subtle in finding his opponent's disadvantages, and it is a very demanding and challenging faith in a secular world that puts a lot of pressure on relying upon political solutions to address spiritual distress, and to use political means to instigate spiritual distress.

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Trapped these poor kids into his definition of truth which is based on scientism.

Unfortunately neither he nor they knew that truth is contextual and salvation is not about facts which are observable

It is about what is important to you personally

This is the Plan of Happiness and that is what it is about- making mankind happy through the knowledge that their sins are forgiven.  It is not about scientific facts.

We need to teach kids that so they do not get bamboozled by charlatans like this.   So sad we do not take that one step in teaching what the gospel is about and more importantly what it is NOT about

For those who love "scholars" here ya go with what is probably the most accepted view on "truth" of most philosophers.

Wish I could have taught these kids this stuff- and therefore YES the Book of Mormon is TRUE!- as endorsed by this theory

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-deflationary/

Emphasis is added

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1. History of Deflationism

The deflationary theory has been one of the most popular approaches to truth in the twentieth century, having received explicit defense by Frege, Ramsey, Ayer, and Quine, as well as sympathetic treatment from many others. (According to Dummett 1959, the view originates with Frege.) The following passages all contain recognizable versions of the doctrine, though they differ on points of detail.

It is worthy of notice that the sentence ‘I smell the scent of violets’ has the same content as the sentence ‘it is true that I smell the scent of violets’. So it seems, then, that nothing is added to the thought by my ascribing to it the property of truth. (Frege 1918)

Truth and falsity are ascribed primarily to propositions. The proposition to which they are ascribed may be either explicitly given or described. Suppose first that it is explicitly given; then it is evident that ‘It is true that Caesar was murdered’ means no more than that Caesar was murdered, and ‘It is false that Caesar was murdered’ means no more than Caesar was not murdered. They are phrases which we sometimes use for emphasis or stylistic reasons, or to indicate the position occupied by the statement in our argument….In the second case in which the proposition is described and not given explicitly we have perhaps more of a problem, for we get statements from which we cannot in ordinary language eliminate the words ‘true’ or ‘false’. Thus if I say ‘He is always right’, I mean that the propositions he asserts are always true, and there does not seem to be any way of expressing this without using the word ‘true’. But suppose we put it thus ‘For all p, if he asserts p, p is true’, then we see that the propositional function p is true is simply the same as p, as e.g. its value ‘Caesar was murdered is true’ is the same as ‘Caesar was murdered’. (Ramsey 1927)

…it is evident that a sentence of the form "p is true" or "it is true that p" the reference to truth never adds anything to the sense. If I say that it is true that Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, or that the proposition "Shakespeare wrote Hamlet" is true, I am saying no more than that Shakespeare wrote Hamlet. Similarly, if I say that it is false that Shakespeare wrote the Iliad, I am saying no more than that Shakespeare did not write the Iliad. And this shows that the words ‘true’ and ‘false’ are not used to stand for anything, but function in the sentence merely as assertion and negation signs. That is to say, truth and falsehood are not genuine concepts. Consequently there can be no logical problem concerning the nature of truth. (Ayer 1935).

The truth predicate is a reminder that, despite a technical ascent to talk of sentences, our eye is on the world. This cancellatory force of the truth predicate is explicit in Tarski's paradigm:

‘Snow is white’ is true if and only if snow is white.

Quotation marks make all the difference between talking about words and talking about snow. The quotation is a name of a sentence that contains a name, namely ‘snow’, of snow. By calling the sentence true, we call snow white. The truth predicate is a device for disquotation. (Quine 1970).

In addition to being popular historically, the deflationary theory has been the focus of much recent work. Perhaps its most vociferous contemporary defenders are Hartry Field and Paul Horwich.

One reason for the popularity of deflationism is its anti-metaphysical stance. Deflationism seems to deflate a grand metaphysical puzzle, a puzzle about the nature of truth, and much of modern philosophy is marked by a profound scepticism of metaphysics. Another reason for the popularity of deflationism concerns the fact that truth is a semantic notion, and therefore takes its place along with other semantic notions, such as reference, meaning, and content. Many philosophers are concerned with trying to understand these semantic notions. The deflationary theory is attractive since it suggests that, at least in the case of truth, there is less to be puzzled about here than one might expect.

 

 

 

So in matters that are important to you, only your heart can tell you what has importance!!

Did you marry your "true wife"?   It doesn't make sense! 

Which college is your true college?   Which occupation is your true occupation?  Is tithing a true principle?   Is buying a house true or not true?  Is the true car a Toyota?

Should I live by the principles taught in the Book of Mormon and will I find the most fruitful live this way-??

For me that is TRUE and of that I am 100% certain!!

That question is not at all like the question "What is the boiling point of water?" which all people can measure.  The nature of God is not observable and so of course we will disagree, so what is left is each persons decision on whether or not this works in their own lives

One may believe others will get the same results- but perhaps they are not yet ready and God is leading them down a preparatory or different path

We need to simply acknowledge that or deal with the whole "my revelation is better than your revelation" path which might be true but good luck pursuing that direction- it simply won't work

How would you feel if someone told you that?   It should be easy to imagine- it happens every time you meet a fundamentalist "Christian" who tells you your revelation is from the devil and his is from God

It is clear to me that this is the only argument which has any chance of convincing anyone

You cant go around telling them that they are they are living a lie any more than they could tell you that and convince you to change.  It is a dead end

Edited by mfbukowski
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40 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Moroni's Promise is not constructed that way.  Volition is needed.  A seed of faith.  Actually reading the book.  Pondering over it.  Some measure of sincerity and desire and humility.  Patience.  And so on.

A person who does not do these things will likely not get an answer that "the Book of Mormon is true."  If the individual is not willing, or not prepared, or not sufficiently informed, then an answer may well not be forthcoming.

Can a person sincerely read the Book of Mormon, really want to know, ponder, pray sincerely and still not get an answer that it is true? Or does the lack of an affirmative answer indicate that the person was lacking in at least one of these things?

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I have never heard that before...but what if it is true in the phrase above that says..."I know that God will  tell people the Book of Mormon is true"  This statement seems to take a way a mediator..

 

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1 hour ago, cdowis said:

How do you answer this question from a viewer?

Street Epistemology: Elder Macedone | I know the Book of Mormon is true

Thanks for sharing.  Even though the production value was obviously clunky and awkward, I really liked this.  What it does is expose a very common problem with respect to how religious people think, and even very smart people on this message board I believe also fall into this logical fallacy of thinking.  (I know this is going to be unpopular for me to say, but I'll say it anyway.)

Commonly within Mormonism, people confuse what they can know from their spiritual experiences with what they can't possibly learn through these experiences.  On MDDB, we see this all the time.  People say that they can know that the BoM is historical, based on their spiritual experience.  Or that the BoA was an accurate description of the life events of Abraham, or that Joseph Smith actually saw and interacted with God & Jesus.  Any number of claims about things that have some component that could otherwise be evaluated using the tools of scholarship.  This way of thinking will increasingly be exposed as fallacious going forward. 

That is why I believe religions need to clearly establish theological principles that properly categorize exactly what a spiritual experience can tell a person about the world they operate in.  Just like in this video, a spiritual experience cannot tell someone how many tic tacs are in a box.  It can however tell people all about what religion would work best for them, or who to marry or how to interact with your kids or how to serve a friend in need.  The spirit can work in those realms, but whenever people expect the spirit to confirm things that can be scientifically tested and verified, these tests will fail.  

And the failure is not the only problem, its the way that failure pokes holes in world views.  It can lead to a crisis of trust in religion all together, and for this reason I think religions need to pivot away from supernatural thinking that has permeated these traditions, and quickly move to a position that can stand up to scrutiny in a modern age.  This is the challenge of religious institutions today, and they will increasingly lose relevance until they figure this out.  

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Elder Cook gave a talk on this, and he says something that's a bit interesting:

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Verse 4 [Moro. 10:4], then, is the Lord’s invitation, through Moroni, to thus confirm truth. To ask “if these things are not true” implies a degree of acceptance that comes as a result of our pondering the teachings of the Book of Mormon that we have received. Notice again the importance of that very first step—remembering the mercy of God to us since the Creation—and then the next step, which is to similarly ponder and receive the teachings of the Book of Mormon. Surely such pondering of these teachings will bring to mind their truth, their power, their goodness. Thus, it is now tantamount to praying, “Father, I believe that I have received truth. Please tell me if this is not so.” This kind of humble petition is motivated by our faith in Christ, by our faith that he will let us know whether our feelings are correct concerning the Book of Mormon or whether we have been deceived. Thus, our prayer, in essence, is a request for a confirmation of our own conclusions from our pondering. The Lord may not respond exactly how and when we expect, but still our obedience to these conditions qualifies us to receive an answer; this is the scope of the process described in these verses. (emphasis added)

I suspect he is confirming what most LDS believe:  there is no scenario where a person could receive a "no" answer from God when praying about whether or not The Book of Mormon is "true." 

If they do think they've received a "no", then it can't be from God.

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1 hour ago, Thinking said:

Can a person sincerely read the Book of Mormon, really want to know, ponder, pray sincerely and still not get an answer that it is true? Or does the lack of an affirmative answer indicate that the person was lacking in at least one of these things?

I think that if it fails and you were not lacking any of those things you should definitely bring that up at the Final Judgement.

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1 hour ago, Thinking said:

Can a person sincerely read the Book of Mormon, really want to know, ponder, pray sincerely and still not get an answer that it is true? Or does the lack of an affirmative answer indicate that the person was lacking in at least one of these things?

Yes,no,maybe. Moroni's promise has to do with confirmation .One reads the BoM , ponders, comes to a conclusion , asks for a confirmation. I happen to think that it is possible that the Lord has a timetable . Even Christ felt left alone at the end. Why would God withdraw at the most challenging time for Christ? Is it possible that for some people the test of faith is not a ' no ' answer but silence. But that isn't fair is it? Studies report that only about 10-15% of those who clinically die and are resuscitated  have an NDE experience. Why not everyone? D&C 8?9? speaks to Oliver about the process of translation and chides him in his attempts.

where much is given, much is expected, many are called but few are chosen, strait is the gate and narrow the way,  ....  and a few other scriptural nuggets B:)

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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

Thanks for sharing.  Even though the production value was obviously clunky and awkward, I really liked this.  What it does is expose a very common problem with respect to how religious people think, and even very smart people on this message board I believe also fall into this logical fallacy of thinking.  (I know this is going to be unpopular for me to say, but I'll say it anyway.)

Commonly within Mormonism, people confuse what they can know from their spiritual experiences with what they can't possibly learn through these experiences.  On MDDB, we see this all the time.  People say that they can know that the BoM is historical, based on their spiritual experience.  Or that the BoA was an accurate description of the life events of Abraham, or that Joseph Smith actually saw and interacted with God & Jesus.  Any number of claims about things that have some component that could otherwise be evaluated using the tools of scholarship.  This way of thinking will increasingly be exposed as fallacious going forward. 

That is why I believe religions need to clearly establish theological principles that properly categorize exactly what a spiritual experience can tell a person about the world they operate in.  Just like in this video, a spiritual experience cannot tell someone how many tic tacs are in a box.  It can however tell people all about what religion would work best for them, or who to marry or how to interact with your kids or how to serve a friend in need.  The spirit can work in those realms, but whenever people expect the spirit to confirm things that can be scientifically tested and verified, these tests will fail.  

And the failure is not the only problem, its the way that failure pokes holes in world views.  It can lead to a crisis of trust in religion all together, and for this reason I think religions need to pivot away from supernatural thinking that has permeated these traditions, and quickly move to a position that can stand up to scrutiny in a modern age.  This is the challenge of religious institutions today, and they will increasingly lose relevance until they figure this out.  

We pretty much agree here---

Just one nuance- maybe

Quote

  People say that they can know that the BoM is historical, based on their spiritual experience.  Or that the BoA was an accurate description of the life events of Abraham, or that Joseph Smith actually saw and interacted with God & Jesus.  Any number of claims about things that have some component that could otherwise be evaluated using the tools of scholarship.  This way of thinking will increasingly be exposed as fallacious going forward. 

In principle maybe you are right, but what you are missing is that these examples cannot be verified by scholarship either, so in a sense it takes faith to even believe that they can be verified at all.

So in fact even though these are theoretically historical events one accepts them in a very similar way that one accepts or rejects spiritual matters

So IF one takes them as "true" as part of their religious beliefs, no problem.  That's the only way they can be "verified" anyway.  They ARE religious beliefs.  I personally find these as irrelevant to the gospel because I am used to taking on paradigms as provisional truths to be falsified but not all here agree with that approach.  They might have happened or not- what I am interested in is how my life is changed by the lessons these stories teach

I never can understand why people can accept the parable of the prodigal son for example and learn that we much treat our kids that way, and yet for one minute not doubt that it is a parable and "never happened"

On the other hand if you pick a story from the BOM and if it never happened they feel there is nothing there to learn because it never happened, and it is called a "fraud" perhaps or at best "fiction".

From the story of Noah we learn that God loves his people and saves them.  But if it never happened I guess God doesn't love his children and won't save them I guess.

It's all just really weird to me that people die for "freedom" as an abstract principle -  and they are heroes, but they will not live for God saving us because the Noah story is not verifiable 

We should live compassionately without verification that that is "good" but if you do it because you think that is what Jesus did, that is wrong because it cannot be verified that he lived.

Very strange world we live in.

Edited by mfbukowski
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1 hour ago, cinepro said:

Thus, our prayer, in essence, is a request for a confirmation of our own conclusions from our pondering.

Nothing new here.  What's the problem?

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7 Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.

8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

9 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.

 

If it doesn't work, forget about it.

Don't hang out here forever complaining

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13 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

We pretty much agree here---

Just one nuance- maybe

In principle maybe you are right, but what you are missing is that these examples cannot be verified by scholarship either, so in a sense it takes faith to even believe that they can be verified at all.

So in fact even though these are theoretically historical events one accepts them in a very similar way that one accepts or rejects spiritual matters

So IF one takes them as "true" as part of their religious beliefs, no problem.  That's the only way they can be "verified" anyway.  They ARE religious beliefs.  I personally find these as irrelevant to the gospel because I am used to taking on paradigms as provisional truths to be falsified but not all here agree with that approach.  They might have happened or not- what I am interested in is how my life is changed by the lessons these stories teach

I never can understand why people can accept the parable of the prodigal son for example and learn that we much treat our kids that way, and yet for one minute not doubt that it is a parable and "never happened"

On the other hand if you pick a story from the BOM and if it never happened they feel there is nothing there to learn because it never happened, and it is called a "fraud" perhaps or at best "fiction".

From the story of Noah we learn that God loves his people and saves them.  But if it never happened I guess God doesn't love his children and won't save them I guess.

It's all just really weird to me that people die for "freedom" as an abstract principle -  and they are heroes, but they will not live for God saving us because the Noah story is not verifiable 

We should live compassionately without verification that that is "good" but if you do it because you think that is what Jesus did, that is wrong because it cannot be verified that he lived.

Very strange world we live in.

I agree with you that we need to be humble about our approach to the past, and our confidence levels in the evidence that can be critically evaluated for historical events a couple hundred years ago.  And of course as we go further backwards in time the picture we get is even less reliable as we have less evidence to evaluate.

But all of this humility about how certain we should be about our evaluation of historical evidence, doesn't mean that we can't evaluate any evidence using scholarly methods.  It also doesn't mean that every evaluation of evidence is equally likely to be an accurate evaluation.  So I wouldn't agree with you that just because something happened in the past that it instantly enters into the realm of a religious belief.  Surely you wouldn't say that a question about what I ate for breakfast this morning (something now in the past) should be looked at purely as a religious question?  

As for why people think scriptural narratives are historical and why they get frustrated when others question their historicity.  I think its because that is how they have been taught by the leaders of their tradition.  In the COJCOLDS, I can't think of any Sunday School curriculum that even begins to discuss approaching the text as ahistorical.  The baseline assumptions are that everything is historical and that is how we teach people in church.  Only perhaps in a university setting do you see people being introduced to more complex ideas, and then you still have church leaders giving talks in GC about how these events are literal history.  So, no wonder the people think the way they do, we are good at following what we've been taught.  

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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

I wouldn't agree with you that just because something happened in the past that it instantly enters into the realm of a religious belief. 

I will just be kind and say I never said that.

No one is responsible for people not thinking for themselves, certainly not the church. 

Edited by mfbukowski

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4 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:
1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

I wouldn't agree with you that just because something happened in the past that it instantly enters into the realm of a religious belief. 

I will just be kind and say I never said that.

Ok, sorry if I misunderstood your point then.  Can you elaborate on this portion below, because I thought you were essentially saying that we can't use scholarship like the modern tools of historical criticism, to "verify" the events of the past.  BTW, I personally wouldn't use the term verify because that is too strong a word, I would say that history is an evaluation of the evidence we have access too, and not a way of "verifying" something in an absolute sense.  

14 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

these examples cannot be verified by scholarship either, so in a sense it takes faith to even believe that they can be verified at all.

So in fact even though these are theoretically historical events one accepts them in a very similar way that one accepts or rejects spiritual matters

 

9 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

No one is responsible for people not thinking for themselves, certainly not the church. 

I would disagree with you on this comment.  I think the church absolutely is a major and powerful contributing factor  responsible for people not thinking for themselves on these topics.   At the end of the day, are people accountable for their thoughts, I guess we could make a theological case for that.  But at the same time, we could make a theological case that people will only be judged based on what their knowledge is, and if they have been taught to avoid the "philosophies of men" and fear unreliable internet sources and only drink from the fountain of correlation, then who is responsible for the culture that has been created that teaches people these things?  If its not the church as a whole, who is it?  

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3 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Ok, sorry if I misunderstood your point then.  Can you elaborate on this portion below, because I thought you were essentially saying that we can't use scholarship like the modern tools of historical criticism, to "verify" the events of the past.  BTW, I personally wouldn't use the term verify because that is too strong a word, I would say that history is an evaluation of the evidence we have access too, and not a way of "verifying" something in an absolute sense.  

 

I would disagree with you on this comment.  I think the church absolutely is a major and powerful contributing factor  responsible for people not thinking for themselves on these topics.   At the end of the day, are people accountable for their thoughts, I guess we could make a theological case for that.  But at the same time, we could make a theological case that people will only be judged based on what their knowledge is, and if they have been taught to avoid the "philosophies of men" and fear unreliable internet sources and only drink from the fountain of correlation, then who is responsible for the culture that has been created that teaches people these things?  If its not the church as a whole, who is it?  

Look at what "these examples" were and then tell me how to verify them.

I was speaking of specific stories not history in general.

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3 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Look at what "these examples" were and then tell me how to verify them.

I was speaking of specific stories not history in general.

Of the three examples I shared off the top of my head, the first one was the historicity of the BoM.  Can we find evidence to support that claim through archaeological, anthropological, linguistic, DNA, etc. research?  Any historical evidence to support the narratives in the text, to show that these narratives weren't just stories that Joseph Smith creatively imagined about an ancient American civilization.  All the tools of the academy for evaluating history can be employed to evaluate this question.  Is that what you're asking for, as it honestly seems pretty obvious to me, so I'm not sure what your question is getting at.  

As I see it, the BoM historicity question is a lot like an example that I first read in Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World about a Dragon in someone's garage.  I haven't seen any evidence to support the BoM as a historical book, so the people claiming it is historical aren't marshaling evidence that stands up to outside scrutiny, rather they are in a very insular way doing apologetic research that doesn't hold up to broader peer review.    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/The_Dragon_in_My_Garage

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44 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Of the three examples I shared off the top of my head, the first one was the historicity of the BoM.  Can we find evidence to support that claim through archaeological, anthropological, linguistic, DNA, etc. research?  Any historical evidence to support the narratives in the text, to show that these narratives weren't just stories that Joseph Smith creatively imagined about an ancient American civilization.  All the tools of the academy for evaluating history can be employed to evaluate this question.  Is that what you're asking for, as it honestly seems pretty obvious to me, so I'm not sure what your question is getting at.  

As I see it, the BoM historicity question is a lot like an example that I first read in Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World about a Dragon in someone's garage.  I haven't seen any evidence to support the BoM as a historical book, so the people claiming it is historical aren't marshaling evidence that stands up to outside scrutiny, rather they are in a very insular way doing apologetic research that doesn't hold up to broader peer review.    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/The_Dragon_in_My_Garage

So now read my comment and apply it to bom historicity.  You keep going off on tangents and not sticking to a specific point.

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31 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

So now read my comment and apply it to bom historicity.  You keep going off on tangents and not sticking to a specific point.

So you said that these examples "cannot be verified by scholarship".  But I just explained how the question of BoM historicity can be evaluated using scholarship.  I don't understand.  (Trying to stick to a very specific point, per your instructions)

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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

So you said that these examples "cannot be verified by scholarship".  But I just explained how the question of BoM historicity can be evaluated using scholarship.  I don't understand.  (Trying to stick to a very specific point, per your instructions)

Verified, not evaluated.

Evaluated is anyone's best guess, it is not objective evidence either way.

How do you verify or evaluate parables?

In the right context parables can be verified in your heart but not by evidence.

You are arguing that absence of evidence is evidence of absence, 

No impartial scholar would waste his time try to verify or evaluate evidence for the physical Book of Mormon or it's historicity. He might as well take up looking for UFOs, and would probably have better results. At least there is agreement on what would constitute objective verification of UFOs.

And for those around here, this does not mean that I do not think the Book of Mormon is historical. I do. There's just no objective evidence. It is verified in my heart as a religious principle not a historic one. 

I am pretty busy right now and pretty much I've said my piece on this.

 

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Verified, not evaluated.

Evaluated is anyone's best guess, it is not objective evidence either way.

How do you verify or evaluate parables?

In the right context parables can be verified in your heart but not by evidence.

You are arguing that absence of evidence is evidence of absence, 

I already expressed that I'm not comfortable using the word "verified" when it comes to historical evidence.  I don't know of any professional historians that speak in those terms.  

Professional history is about trying to reconstruct the evidence as best as possible, some kinds of evidence are more reliable than others, like primary sources as opposed to secondary sources.  But everything has to be evaluated and they have established criteria and methods to critically evaluate these things and to remove as much bias in the process as possible.  You know this, so why are you arguing against the straw-man version of what scholarly historians actually practice?  

2 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

No impartial scholar would waste his time try to verify or evaluate evidence for the physical Book of Mormon or it's historicity. He might as well take up looking for UFOs, and would probably have better results. At least there is agreement on what would constitute objective verification of UFOs.

And for those around here, this does not mean that I do not think the Book of Mormon is historical. I do. There's just no objective evidence. It is verified in my heart as a religious principle not a historic one. 

I am pretty busy right now and pretty much I've said my piece on this.

People have tried and failed to do this very thing in the past.   Today, it so clearly doesn't have even a shred of supporting historical evidence, that you are right, no respectable scholar even starts down this road anymore in professional publications.  And I would also argue that those apologists who do venture into this territory in more conservative apologetic Mormon publications, such as the Interpreter, are well aware that these kinds of psuedo scholarly essays they write, would definitely hurt their CV if they ever ventured out of Mormon circles because these kind of efforts do not stand up to peer reviewed scrutiny.  

Unfortunately, there is a kind of double speak happening in these apologetic circles.  Where people with specialized degrees hold a level of respect because of their resume, and they use that resume to give credence to their apologetic works.  For example with the BoA, people like Gee and Muhlestein.  Both are clearly smart and well educated, yet they don't follow industry scholarly standards of objectivity when writing about the BoA, and nothing that they've published would hold up peer review or be published in any academic Egyptology journals.  

Lastly, as for believing the BoM is historical based on spiritual witness, that seems a little contradictory to what you've said earlier in this thread.  I guess I don't understand that.  I thought you acknowledged that we can't learn about history through spiritual witness.  If we recognize that spiritual witness experiences have their limits, and for example those limits could include telling a person which stock will increase in value the most, or what lawnmower brand will last the longest, why can spiritual witness tell you whether a story produced by a person in the 19th century is either historical or just a fictional narrative that this person constructed? 

Can you tell me through spiritual witness if Scientology contains an accurate history of human civilization with Xenu populating the earth with humans via space craft 75 million years ago?  Can a spiritual witness tell you anything about the accuracy of any of the multitude of narratives and traditions that people have inherited throughout all the various cultures of the world.  Could it tell you the accuracy of whether blood letting is a viable treatment to cure disease?  These are the kinds of questions I thought we both agreed can't be answered by spiritual witness.  So why do you think the historicity of the BoM can be answered by spiritual witness.  Why is that an exception to the rule?  

P.S. I respect you being busy, don't feel obligated to quickly reply or even reply at all.  I understand, and as always, thanks for the discussion.  

 

 

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6 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

As I see it, the BoM historicity question is a lot like an example that I first read in Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World about a Dragon in someone's garage.  I haven't seen any evidence to support the BoM as a historical book, so the people claiming it is historical aren't marshaling evidence that stands up to outside scrutiny, rather they are in a very insular way doing apologetic research that doesn't hold up to broader peer review.    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/The_Dragon_in_My_Garage

1. Outside review  of a book "delivered by an angel"
"All the tools of the academy for evaluating history"

Please give us the names of outside reviewers who accept the possibility of the existence of angels and their  appearance outside of the Biblical record.

Those who have done an extensive examination of the text of the Book of Mormon for what  would be acceptable for such evidence.  For example, how would you identify an authentic Nephite jade necklace?

Who would decide the unclear issues on such evidence == e.g. "linguistic" --  what language does he BOM claim was the vernacular of  the Nephites,  geographical location, etc

2. Peer review==

Are you serious. 

And who would you suggest to be the members of such a review board== certainly those those who are intimately familiar with the text of the BOM and have the appropriate scientific credentials.  I assume you have such a list available of those acceptable to the "outsiders".

3. "anthropological"

Give us a list of extant written records from the Pre-classical era to give us a broad perspective of their society.

++Just start with the issue of identification as a beginning++

 

 

 

Edited by cdowis
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9 minutes ago, cdowis said:

1. Outside review  ==

Please give us the names of outside reviewers who accept the possibility of the existence  and appearance of angels outside of the Biblical record.

I'm confused, I'm not claiming that outside scholars accept the possibility of the existence and appearance of angels as part of their scholarly work.  This statement sounds like the opposite of the point I was making.  =

11 minutes ago, cdowis said:

Those who have done an extensive examination of the text of the Book of Mormon for what  would be acceptable for such evidence.  For example, how would you identify an authentic Nephite jade necklace?

Who would decide the unclear issues on such evidence == e.g. what language does he BOM claim was the vernacular of  the Nephites,  geographical location, etc

2. Peer review==

Are you serious. 

And who would you suggest to be the members of such a review board== certainly those those who are intimately familiar with the text of the BOM and have the appropriate scientific credentials.  I assume you have such a list available of those acceptable to the "outsiders".

As for a specific jade necklace, I'm not an expert and I'm ignorant as to whether or not they could tell which culture a jade necklace comes from if they were given one and were told to identify where it came from.  There might be indicators, but I couldn't even begin to tell you how or what those indicators are.  

For Nephite language, according to the BoM they spoke Hebrew, and also according to the BoM some of them could write using a form of Egyptian.  So probably start with those assumptions.  

2. Peer review.  I'm talking about broadly accepted scholarly disciplinary peer review.  The major journals in any particular field, i.e. archaeology, anthropology, etc.  Not just other Mormon apologists doing theological speculation in their Mormon bubble.  I imagine all of the scholars with PHDs already had to publish research in their field to get their degrees, so they know the ropes and what is necessary to get published in their field. 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

IFor Nephite language, according to the BoM they spoke Hebrew, [snip] So probably start with those assumptions.  

 

You have just proven my point.

YOUR assumption is based on some country hick who wrote the BOM, so it would be very simplistic in its narrative.  Jews from Jerusalem..... Hebrew, of course. 

You country hick assumption excludes the possibility of a very  intricate narrative that over the centuries, their language evolved, with the influence of the language of their neighbors.   A unique language unknown to the rest of the world. 

It excludes the use of authentic ancient Egyptian names.which impressed a noted Egyptologist.

Spend some times here and re-examine your assumptions.  

 

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